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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — McLeod Software is expanding its data analytics and business intelligence capabilities and other tools designed to help its carrier and freight broker customers navigate an uncertain business environment.
The transportation management software provider also announced plans to roll out a new web-based user interface to its PowerBroker and LoadMaster product lines over the next few years.
At the company’s 2022 User Conference, held here September 25-27, CEO Tom McLeod pointed to mixed signals for the trucking industry, including increasing truck tonnage and less pressure on driver recruitment and retention, but lower capacity and freight rate volatility.
He also cited high inflation, rising interest rates and the recent decline in US gross domestic product, as well as the disruption caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and some analysts’ predictions of an economic recession. on the horizon.
While all of this uncertainty presents challenges for businesses, he reminded attendees that it can also allow well-positioned businesses to have an edge over their competition if properly prepared.
“Uncertainty and disruption create opportunity,” McLeod said.
McLeod Software’s goal, he said, is to equip its customers with the computing and technology capabilities they will need to prepare for whatever disruption the future may bring.
“Our goal is to help you run a better operation — to up your game and take your business to the next level,” McLeod said.
To achieve this, the company has expanded its service and support staff and increased its investment in technology development. McLeod Software has grown to more than 600 employees and reinvests about 30% of its product revenue into product development each year, McLeod said.
The company said its annual user conference drew more than 1,500 attendees this year, the most in the event’s history.
On the product development front, McLeod invests in data science and machine learning to help clients better understand industry trends and make better business decisions.
An example is more decision support for pricing. The company’s MPact Pro product, launched in April, is designed to give fleets and brokers deeper insight into market rate dynamics.
“If you overcharge, you lose freight that you would otherwise earn,” McLeod said. “If you set it too low, you’re leaving money on the table that you need for the sustainability and health of your business.”
McLeod plans to add more AI and machine learning features in the future, including support for operations and predictive pricing capabilities that project rate trends days into the future.
Meanwhile, McLeod’s new web browser user interface will not just be a new “skin” for its software, but will open the door to an improved user experience, McLeod said.
“We’re taking the time to completely redesign workflows and completely redesign role-based processes to take full advantage of the new user interface,” he said.
The first version of the new interface will be PowerBroker Web. A core group of early adopters will implement PowerBroker Web in the next two months, with a general release to follow in early 2023 for all McLeod customers looking to upgrade their systems.
— Seth Clevenger (@SethClevenger) September 26, 2022
From there, McLeod plans to roll out the new web-based user interface across its entire product line, including LoadMaster and LoadMaster LTL, over the next two years.
McLeod has also worked to expand and improve technology integrations with other vendors.
The company introduced an open application programming interface, or API, to serve as a streamlined integration point for mobile communications systems, electronic logging devices and trailer monitoring systems.
The first two integrations deployed through this open API are the tractor telematics and driver workflow system from Isaac Instruments and the trailer telematics technology from TGI Connect.
McLeod also continues to develop its business process automation capabilities. The company has added Carrier Invoice Processing, a new feature to its Logix Solutions product line, to help freight brokers and third-party logistics providers more efficiently collect, index and match carrier documents electronically to speed carrier payment process.
Addressing another key industry topic, McLeod said transportation companies appear to be making progress in their efforts to defend against cyberattacks. The company has noted a significant drop in cybersecurity incidents among its customer base, with the frequency of such incidents falling to less than one per month now after seeing about one per week just three or four years ago, it said. -he declares.
Meanwhile, more and more transportation companies have moved their software applications from on-premises systems to the cloud. McLeod said 27% of the company’s customers now use McLeod’s cloud services to host and deliver applications.
McLeod also discussed emerging commercial vehicle technologies such as battery-electric and hydrogen-powered trucks, which will factor into broader efforts to reduce emissions.
“Some of your shippers have carbon reduction initiatives and they want you to be a contributor,” he said.
At the same time, McLeod continues to engage in conversations with self-driving truck developers, many of whom are focused on automating certain hub-to-hub lanes as they continue to test and refine their self-driving systems. .
“We are ready to connect with these companies,” he said.